A Brief Rant On Writing, Living, and Censorship

I’m an artist. All bets are off.

Joel Eisenberg

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Image courtesy of iStock

It’s time for a rant.

I’ll start here: I’m an artist. I’m also a Jew.

As a Jew who in his past has been the recipient of antisemitism, I’m often asked if Holocaust jokes should be banned.

No. Banned from what?

Have I ever laughed at a Holocaust joke?

No.

Will I ever laugh at a Holocaust joke?

I highly doubt it but as with anything else it would depend on the joke.

Do you risk getting your head chewed off and spit back if you tell me a Holocaust joke?

Yeah, it’s a risk. Probably a big one.

What if you told a Holocaust joke to a Holocaust survivor? I cannot answer that. Though I’ve had relatives lost to it, I cannot relate as having survived it is out of the realm of my experience. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if telling such a joke to a survivor would land with extreme consequences … but that’s just a guess.

So what’s the point?

I believe in all cases … if I personally choose not to engage or patronize your joke, that’s my priority. It shouldn’t be “unlawful,” as there’s a fine line between jokes in piss-poor taste, and hate speech. A very, often undefinable, fine line that would typically come down to a judgement call, or a vote, unless in the easier event of something overt.

Ditto entertainment in general. You don’t like certain films, television shows, or music? You are offended by them? Don’t patronize them, and fight against them if you feel you need to.

But don’t expect me to be on your side because you are “right.”

There is no “right” or “wrong“ in the matter. There is working together and communicating with each other so we understand one another. That is all.

I’m an artist. A writer, specifically. I make statements, metaphorically or directly. You have the right to neither engage with nor patronize my work. Same thing applies regarding me to you.

I emphatically do not believe in canceling anything from the past that may be socially taboo now. We must…

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Joel Eisenberg

Joel Eisenberg is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. The Oscar in the profile pic isn’t his but he’s scheming. WGA and Pen America member.